New Fellowship in Jewish Studies

The following notification was passed on by Prof. I. Gafni – do suggest that all interested check it out!


The Yad Hanadiv and the Beracha Foundation Visiting Fellowship in Jewish Studies Announce a Programme in Jerusalem for Visiting Fellowships in Jewish Studies – 2015/2016 Academic Year


In an effort to enhance the quality of courses, instruction, and research in Jewish Studies at universities throughout the world, a Visiting Fellowship programme has been established by Yad Hanadiv and the Beracha Foundation.  Fellowships are awarded each year to scholars in Jewish Studies, who hold non-tenured university positions at the time of their application.  Fellows will spend a year in Israel, pursuing their research projects, while meeting regularly with a senior scholar in their field who will serve as an academic advisor. The Fellows will be required to confirm that upon completion of the 2015/2016 academic year they will resume teaching Jewish Studies at a University outside Israel. 


Candidates wishing to apply for a Fellowship for the academic year 2015/2016 must meet the following criteria:

  1. Dissertation must be submitted 1 April 2015 and the PhD degree must be awarded before the beginning of the fellowship period.
  2. PhD was obtained on or after September 2009.
  3. Competency in Hebrew.
  4. Permanent, non-Israeli residence.
  5. Involvement specifically in the teaching of courses in Jewish Studies.

Amount of Fellowship:

The Fellowship for 2015/2016 will be in the amount of NIS 100,000 plus a family allowance (NIS 10,500 for spouse and NIS 10,500 per child), where applicable. A Fellow will be entitled to a modest travel grant, depending on the place of origin and the size of the family. Expenses for housing and medical care are the sole responsibility of the Fellow.

Deadline for receipt of applications: 26 December 2014.

Applicants will be advised as to the decision of the Steering Committee on or before 31 January 2015.  Further information and application forms may be obtained from:

Prof. Isaiah Gafni or Ms. Natania Isaak-Weschler

Yad Hanadiv/Beracha Foundation Fellowships

4 George Washington Street, 9418794 Jerusalem, ISRAEL

e-mail:  or

Tel.: 972-2-566 5107, ext. 310



Faience technology at EB Safi: Poster at Upcoming conference in Cyprus

Adi Eliyahu Behar will be presenting a poster (in the name of a bunch of Safiites – Shira Kisos, Itzick Shai, Aren Maeir and Haskel Greenfield) on a technological study of faience beads that were found in the EB levels in Area E at Tell es-Safi/Gath.

The poster will be presented at the INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES OF ANCIENT MATERIALS FROM THE MEDITERRANEAN, which will be held in Nicosia, 17-19 September 2014, at the University of Cyprus (see here for the conference schedule and abstracts [thanks to Barnea Selevan for the HT]).

Besides the Safi poster, there will be all kinds of very interesting presentations at this meeting.

Here is a pdf of the poster which will be presented at the conference:

Beads-Poster-Cyprus 2014-Final


“Wandering Arameans”: Workshop on the Arameans Outside of Syria – Leipzig, 21-23 of October, 2014

As the part of what hopefully will turn into a long-term collaboration between the University of Leipzig and Bar-Ilan University (led by Prof. Angelika Berlejung and yours truly) on the study of the relations between the Aram and Israel in ancient times, a workshop which will deal with various aspects on the Arameans outside (and in some cases, inside) Syria will be held on October 21-13, 2014 at the University of Leipzig.

Here is the official meeting announcement and schedule:

We are pleased to invite you to the Symposium “Wandering Arameans:
Arameans outside Syria: textual and archaeological perspectives” to be
held on 21-23 October 2014. The venue will be the lecture room of the
Bibliotheca Albertina, University of Leipzig (Beethovenstraße 6,
Leipzig, Germany, D-04107). The symposium is organized by Institut für
Altes Testament der Universität Leipzig, Germany, in cooperation with
Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan, Israel.

For further information, please contact Prof. Dr Angelika Berlejung,
Institut für Altes Testament der Universität Leipzig


21.10.2014 Vortragsraum der Bibliotheca Albertina
14.30 Welcome

15.00-15.45: Yigal Levin – Bar Ilan University:
“My Father was a Wandering Aramean”: Biblical Views of the Ancestral
Relationship Between Israel and Aram

15.45-16.30: Angelika Berlejung – Leipzig University:
In Search of parallels and interconnections between the
Israelite/Judahite and Aramean cultures. The case of Hamath

16.30-17.00 coffee/tea break

17.00-17.45: Takayoshi Oshima – Leipzig University
How “Mesopotamian” was Ahiqar?

17.45-18.30: Michael Streck – Leipzig University:
Aramaic epigraphs on Cuneiform Tablets as Source for the Late
Babylonian Language

22.10.2014 Vortragsraum der Bibliotheca Albertina

10.00-10.45: Johannes Hackl – Leipzig/Wien University:
Arameans in Late Period Babylonia

10.45-11.30: Andreas Schüle – Leipzig University:
A Peripheral Aramean: Tell Deir Alla Revisited

11:30-12.45: Esther Eshel – Bar-Ilan University:
New Aramaic Divination Ostraca from Hellenistic Maresha

12:45-15.00 break

15.00-15.45: Günter Vittmann – Würzburg University:
Arameans in Ancient Egypt

15:45-16.30: Marco Frenschkowski – Leipzig University:
Traces of Aramaic Religion in Eastern Syriac Sources from Late Antiquity

16.30-17.00 coffee-tea break

17.00-17.45: Aren M. Maeir – Bar-Ilan University:
Can material evidence of the Aramean influence in Iron Age Judah and
Israel be found?

23.10.2014 (not open to public) Universität Leipzig Augustusplatz S 204
10.15-12.00 Final discussion and project outline


This should be VERY interesting – and hopefully the opening of some very fruitful research and collaboration!


Mazal tov to Dr. Amit Dagan!

Today we got the great news that we now have to call Amit Dagan – Dr. Dagan!


Amit gets a big head

Amit, long time core team member of the Tell es-Safi/Gath project, field director of Area D and director of the project lab, wrote his thesis on:

“Between Judah and Philistia in the 8th century BCE: The material culture of Tell es-Safi/Gath as a test case for political and cultural change”

Mabruk! Kol Hakavod! Lechaim!



Meeting at TAU on “Biblical Tells”, and Heritage Conservation

The official notice on a very interesting meeting which will take place at TAU Dec. 11, 2014 has just been sent out.

The meeting, which will be conducted in Hebrew is entitled: “The Biblical Tell: Between Research and Tourism”. The various lectures will deal with continuum that runs between the modern excavations of Bronze and Iron Age multi-period sites and up until they are part of the cultural heritage and tourism landscape.

Here is the meeting schedule:


Among others, there will be lectures by Steve Weiner, Israel Finkelstein, Ami Mazar, yours truly, Tzika Tzuk, Yadin Roman and Raanan Kislev. Should be very interesting!

Kudos to Oded Lifschitz for organizing this interesting meeting!



Feathered wings on Ikaria?

Finishing up a splendid 2 week vacation on the Greek island of Ikaria (2nd time here), which is simply an enchanted – but very unusual – place.

Tradition has it that Icarus, the son of Daedalus (who created the Labyrinth for Minos), when the two escaped from Crete using wings that Daedalus created, Icarus flew too close to the sun, and he plummeted into the sea near this island – and was buried here. I despite looking all over, I did not see any evidence of his wings…

On the other hand, although there are surprisingly few birds on the island (wonder if this is due to hunting?), I did get to see a very nice Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo – sometimes known as the “Great Cormorant”) sitting on a rock right near the house we were staying in – so I imagined that perhaps those were how Daedalus’ wings looked like…

Cormorant on Ikaria


Great book: “Complex Communities” by B. Porter

Just finished reading a great book – Complex Communities: The Archaeology of Early Iron Age West-Central Jordan, B. J. Porter (Univ. of Arizona, 2013). The book describes his research on early Iron Age sites in central Jordan, and provides a very sophisticated and well-thought out view on communities existing in a marginal zone. Short, dense – but highly readable, and with many important insights for the study of the early Iron Age Levant in general, and marginal (and non-marginal) societies in general. I particularly liked how he stresses the need to look at a much higher resolution at the various groups which are defined in most scholarship about the Iron Age Levant (Israelites, Philistines, Moabites, etc.), and how community level archaeological research can provide important and even revolutionary insights on these (and other) cultures and periods.

Very relevant for studying non-marginal early Iron Age cultures as well – such as the Philistines, Canaanites, and Israelites/Judahites.