Wednesday, July 27, 2005

First of all, please note the new Kesher Talk URL if you haven't already.

The following text with links is here:

Sunday was the fast day of the 17th of Tammuz, beginning the Three Weeks of somber reflection that lead to Tisha B'Av, the Jewish holy day commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples (in each case also the destruction of the Jewish nation at that time).

During these three weeks, I am asking for contributions to a blogburst to appear just before Tisha B'Av.

The theme of this blogburst is the destruction of Temple Mount archeological relics under the authorization of the Muslim authority in charge of the Mount, in the context of ongoing propaganda attempts to erase Jewish history.

A "blogburst" is a simultaneous and cross-linked posting of many blogs on the same theme, usually to commemorate a particular event or to publicize a situation. The organizer makes a master blog entry with links to all the other blogposts on the topic.

Kesher Talk has spearheaded several blogbursts in the past, most notably commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Munich Olympics Massacre. That effort earned links from James Taranto's "Best of the Web" and Instapundit, among others.

Tisha B'Av begins the evening of Saturday August 13th and continues till the evening of Sunday August 14th. Because Shabbat is just the day before, please post your contribution and email me the permalink before 3 PM, Friday August 12th.

If you don't have a blog but would like to write on this topic, email me your essay and I will post it on Kesher Talk in its own permalink, and link to it from the main blogburst entry.

You don't have to be Jewish, or know anything about Tisha B'Av, to contribute to this blogburst. You can post solely about any of these topics, or in combination:
- the ongoing Temple Mount destruction and efforts to mitigate it
- the history of Jewish Jerusalem and Jewish residence in Israel (preferably that which can be corroborated by artifacts and documents)
- the disinformation campaign to falsify Middle Eastern history to erase the Jewish presence
- controversies about future Jewish and Muslim activity at the Temple Mount
- personal experiences at the Temple Mount
- Tisha B'Av: its rituals and many meanings

I have many URLs on these topics and will be happy to email them to you upon request, to assist you in writing your contribution. Of course, your own resources are welcome and desired.

Feel free to publicize this effort on your blog - the more contributors the better; that's how a blogburst works.

Judith Weiss
Kesher Talk

I'll see what I can come up with.

UPDATE: Jim West takes exception to this project on the following grounds:
From the sound of it, only contributions which support the belief in a grand, Solomonic Temple will be included as the blogger defines herself as a person with a hawkish liberal Jewish perspective.

His emphasis. On the grounds that Jim doesn't like Judith's politics, he puts words in her mouth which she did not say. What she did say was that she wants discussions of "the history of Jewish Jerusalem and Jewish residence in Israel (preferably that which can be corroborated by artifacts and documents)," which sounds perfectly reasonable to me. I don't know what she thinks about the various minimalist positions about such things -- I don't buy all of them myself -- but her having a "hawkish liberal Jewish perspective" doesn't disqualify her from being interested in the actual evidence.

He continues
The troubling bit, at least for me, is the line which suggests that there is [an] ongoing propaganda attempt to erase Jewish history. If this means, as I think it must, that any questioning of the historical truth claims of the Deuteronomic History is seen as an attempt to erase Jewish history, then I must strenuously disagree with the premise.

No she doesn't mean that, Jim, as you really ought to know if you've been paying attention to what has been going on in the Middle East in recent years. She's talking about claims coming from Palestinians and the Arab world in general that there were no Jewish temples at all ever on the Temple Mount (see, for example, here, here, here, and here) and that the Wailing Wall is "a Muslim wall" rather than a Herodian structure. These are just a few examples of a very widespread phenomenon that I have blogged on frequently.

Yes, there is solid archaeological evidence that raises significant doubts about the stories of Solomon's and David's empires. That does not mean that there was no temple on the Temple Mount in the Iron Age II. Yes, there is room for debate over the date of its founding and how big it was. It seems quite unlikely that it was the grand structure described in 1 Kings 6 and 7 in the time of Solomon. But archaeologist Israel Finkelstein certain accepts a reasonably grand temple on the site by the time of Josiah's royal state, and it may be that Josiah's "repairs" to the temple involved expanding a more modest original structure. (That's my speculation, not Finkelstein's.) But whatever you do with the first temple, how can you possibly take seriously the claim that the second temple, even in its expanded Herodian form, didn't exist? That certainly sounds like a "disinformation campaign to falsify Middle Eastern history to erase the Jewish presence" to me. And the destruction of the archaeology of the Temple Mount by the Waqf under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority (see, e.g., here, here, and here), on which Jim does not comment on at all in his post, involves erasure that goes far beyond mere disinformation. Now there's something to be troubled about.

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