As a child and throughout the all-important developmental years of my youth, I was fortunate to be raised by hard-working parents who struggled to afford me the privileges of providing cultural opportunities to enrich my growth.
I attended day camp and summer camp, and had occasional treats of museum or aquarium visits, the Nutcracker suite ballet (back when it was the real, visiting Russian Moscow ballet, to whom nobody has ever held a candle to, to this day), and ice shows. There were piano-, ice-skating and tennis lessons (skiing I had to pay for myself).
These are important things, which I think that many of today’s families just don’t bother undertaking with their children. I spent many after-school days at my friend’s house, and she was also a fixture at ours, accompanying my mother and I to an occasional outing. My favorites usually involved trips to the museum. I particularly took a shine to the polished gemstones for purchase for between $1.00-to-$3.00 in the museum’s gift shop, as did my friend, and I had a small collection of a few good rocks: micah, pyrite, and others.
I was also really enraptured of the Egyptian artifact collections, as well as the heiroglyphic and ancient writing systems of the ancient Middle Eastern cultures, spending some time in youthful pursuit, which is to say, not so seriously, unfortunately, in trying to learn some of these systems. Odd how it was that when my friend and I concocted our own secret alphabet code, we happened to have used some of the same symbols formulated by the ancients of old. I believe there must be some type of universal symbol usage, or perhaps more narrowly Middle Eastern, that perpetuates in ancient memories of the mind. I bet that if today’s coded kids’ alphabets were studied, they’d find the same symbols still in effect (add this to my Crazy Theory subset: #2, if I remember to do so).
I never extrapolated my love in my youth for the Egyptian archaeological finds early enough to realize that it could be a field of study for me, applied to Israeli/Jewish culture. Most study of archaeology in its beginnings were conducted mostly under the auspices of societies/Foundations/schools studying Egyptian, Assyrian and Hittite culture. Jews were excluded from among such groups due to anti-Semitism, and via the fact that they weren’t allowed entrance in such a capacity to those other Middle Eastern countries, anyways. Israel was still being referred to by the old designation of “Palestine”, in any case, as well.
In really recent times, though, I was briefly able to realize this great honor in studying Israeli archaeology via the Israeli Ministry of Tourism acceptance of me into its program of licensure to be a tour guide. In a participating academic program I enrolled in (I was unable to complete the full course of certification, due to personal circumstances I let get in the way), my course studies took me on field trips accessible only to archaeologists behind locked gates and other areas way beyond that which even the scope of a tourist trip could reveal. It was incredible.
One day I was watching t.v. with my mother about Israel and its sites, and there was one of my classmates, described as an expert, leading a televised tour of a particular ancient site, and I excitedly pointed him out to my mother.
Israel’s top archaeologists were my classroom and field guide teachers. One spoke of his Yemeni wife and related tales of his visit with the Princess of Bhutan, as he led us up mountains and past old water drainage systems cut into the hillsides. Another, whom I really related to and admired immensely, is one of Israel’s leading archaeologists. Dr. Gabriel Barkay is the archaeologist whose excavations uncovered the oldest found Biblical text, incised in proto-Hebraic script onto two silver scrolls: that of the Aharonic Blessing (one of my favorites) of Numbers 6:24-26 and the other of Deuteronomy 7:9, dating to approximately the 7th Century BCE, according to information I found at the Israel Tour Guide / Israel Tours blogsite of Shmuel Browns (read his article, below).
Prior to the beginning of my educational training, I participated briefly in a project known as the Temple Mount Sifting Project, where dirt which had been removed during illegal Arab construction and excavation on the Temple Mount was being sifted and combed through for any archaeological artifacts it might yield. While I did not find anything….
Stone tiles matching the new Roman foot measurement of 29.6 cm used by Herod such as at his other palaces, like Masada, Jericho, and Herodion, of flooring installed in the inlaid opus sectile, or “cut work” style, unknown in Israel prior to Herod’s time, have since been found of imported marble and stone from Rome, Asia Minor, Tunisia and Egypt.
King Herod was responsible for many great building projects throughout Israel under vasselage of the Roman Empire. The tiles dating to this time confirm the Jewish Temple having been built then (37-4 BCE, according to the information found at Breaking Israel News), and there. Other contemporaneous sources during Temple period times comes from the historian Flavius Josephus, in his First Century book, “The Jewish Wars”, who writes of the courtyard of the Jewish Temple being paved with multicolored stone, as well as Talmudic literature speaking of colors of green, blue and white. More than 100 of the 600 tiles found date to this period.
The timing couldn’t have been a better counterpoint to 9-11 this year (as well as BDS, EU labeling, UNESCO declaration of the Temple Mount being solely holy to our sworn enemies, etc…).
G-d sure does have a great sense of humor, doesn’t He?
See the archaeological evidence at Breaking Israel News (scroll through entire article to see the different geometrical patterns posited in reconstruction and refurbishment, about halfway down the page) at: http://www.breakingisraelnews.com/75233/first-time-ever-undeniable-evidence-jewish-temple-discovered-photos/
Berkowitz, Adam Eliyahu. “For First Time Ever, Archaeological Evidence Proves Jewish Temple Stood On Temple Mount [PHOTOS]”. Breaking Israel News.com; September 6, 2016: http://www.breakingisraelnews.com/75233/first-time-ever-undeniable-evidence-jewish-temple-discovered-photos/
Browns, Shmuel. “Ketef Hinnom Silver Amulets”. Israel Tour Guide / Israel Tours; March 16, 2011: https://israel-tourguide.info/2011/0316/ketef-hinnom-silver-amulet/